My husband showed me a great article on gender politics this week called Why Women Should Stop Trying To Be Perfect by Deborah Spar. Here is some thought provoking tidbits…
Even worse, we somehow believe that we need to do all of this at once, and without any help. Almost by definition, a woman cannot work a 60-hour-per-week job and be the same kind of parent she would have been without the 60-hour-per-week job. No man can do this; no human can do this. Yet women are repeatedly berating themselves for failing at this kind of balancing act, and (quietly, invidiously) berating others when something inevitably slips.
We as humans need to learn to say no. We are striving to do it all and end up exhausted, diseased–ever teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. It’s time to simplify our lives (and our kids’s schedules). Take those expectations down a notch. And allow people to help us. We have this notion that we have to do everything all by ourselves. (I even fall prey to this sometimes.) But people are not independent creatures, we are social creatures, we survive by interrelating. If you think about it you’d realize that nobody really does much alone anyway.
As of 2012, women accounted for only 16 percent of partners at the country’s largest law firms and 15 percent of senior executives at Fortune 100 firms. They constituted only 10 percent of the country’s aerospace engineers, 7 percent of its Hollywood directors, and 16 percent of its congressional representatives. And they still earn, on average, only 77 cents to every man’s dollar.
I don’t know what to even say about these stats. They speak for itself.
…the problems we face are subtler. They come partly from the media, partly from society, partly from biology, and partly from our own vastly unrealistic expectations…We must instead forge partnerships with those around us, and begin to dismantle the myth of solitary perfection.All too often, women are scared of raising the topic of gender with men, thinking it will brand them as radicals or troublemakers, while men are terrified of saying or doing anything that might classify them as politically incorrect. The result, of course, is that no one says anything productive at all.
I am included in this also. I am afraid to raise the topic of gender politics to men. I do anyway and usually get socked in the gut. I cry and mope, but then I get back up and speak up again. I’m trying to find a way to speak productively- but I realize that the way I am speaking is not the only problem.
The only way that American women will ever fully solve the “women’s problem” is by recognizing the quest for perfection for what it is: a myth. No woman can have it all, and by using all as the standard of success, we are only condemning ourselves and our daughters to failure.
We have to try so hard to compensate feeling inadequate as women in a society that demotes us the account of gender, only. It would be great if at least women could commit to stop judging each other. Being against each other undermines our power. We are our own worst critic. To stop judging each other we have to learn to stop judging ourselves. A standard of perfection is not only unachievable, it damages us in every way possible. It separates us from people, makes us miserable, induces self hatred, weighs heavy on our heart, takes away our power to change the world, causes us to over do and under nourish ourselves, instigates anger, anxiety and sadness. Striving for perfection is a lose-lose scenario on every account.
What do you all think about the gender politics? How do you talk about it?